Sustainable and Organic Market Analysis & News
Fairtrade Certified Products
The Ekobai.com market guide to Fairtrade certified products features the latest facts and figures from Fairtrade International (FLO) as well as news and updates on Fairtrade labelling and related market trends. The guide also features descriptions of and links to other ethical trade organizations such as Fair Trade USA, EQUITRADE, FairWertung and the Ethical Trading Initiative. Fairtrade Foundation UK is a FLO member organisation. (For reference, readers may also refer to FLO's official statement on Transfair USA’s withdrawal from the FLO network.)
The term “Fair Trade” refers to a movement that advocates payment of a just price to developing-world producers of agricultural and related products, such as bananas, cocoa, coffee, cotton, flowers, fresh fruit, rice, herbs and spices, sugar, tea and wine. Ethical trade began when the first coffee from Mexico was made available to the Dutch end buyers with the Fairtrade Label in the late 1980s. Since then, Fairtrade has evolved into an organized and highly trusted labelling system recognised by socially conscious, and increasingly mainstream, consumers. Despite the global economic downturn, Fairtrade International reported worldwide retail sales of over 4.9 Euros billion for 2011, a 12% rise on the previous year. Fairtrade consumers are focused in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and East Asia – most prominently Japan, where sales rose by 29% in 2011. Other growing markets are South Africa and South Korea. The FAIRTRADE Mark is owned by Fairtrade International (FLO), based in Bonn. Fairtrade International’s members license the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark in their countries, while Fairtrade International licenses the FAIRTRADE Mark to companies where there are no national Fairtrade organizations.
Role of the standards within the market
Prior to the early 2000s, Fairtrade products were a small niche in the market, often sold by single unit, ethical and new age stores. This has now radically changed and the FAIRTRADE Mark has become essential for doing business in many markets – bananas and coffee retailing/serving in North America and Europe in particular. There are currently over 27,000 Fairtrade-certified products from 66 countries available to consumers. Recognizing market and reputation value, more and more global brands are introducing Fairtrade ethics into their procurement policies. Big names such as Starbucks, Ben and Jerry’s, Candico Sugar and Cadbury’s chocolate have started incorporating Fairtrade-certified ingredients into their mainstream products, setting targets to increase their use and actively promoting these activities to improve their public images. Leading retailers such as Tesco (UK) now have their own range of Fairtrade products.
There are currently 19 Fairtrade Labelling Initiatives covering 25 countries around the world and a variety of products-specific standards are set by Fairtrade International. Thus every single product with the international FAIRTRADE Certification Mark undergoes third-party certification against the Fairtrade Standards at each step of the supply chain. This includes audits of the production facilities and distribution and supply chains. In charge of those activities is FLO-CERT – the independent certification body of the Fairtrade system. Since the resignation of Fair Trade USA from the international Fairtrade system at the end of 2011, the international FAIRTRADE Certification Mark has been launched on the USA market.